Backpacks and pockets can at times be loaded down with all sorts of items from home. Sometimes I wonder, "Do your parents know you brought that to school?" I rarely make a fuss as long as they don't become a problem in the classroom. This year is different, and yet I can't really make a fuss, at least not in front of the kids. I've had a parade of bulging backpacks and pockets in my room laden down with all kinds stuff from home - jail sentences, excessive moving from school to school, ODD, Bi-polar, visits from Child Protection Services, days without meds, changing of meds, little to no food at home, staying up too late, abuse, and the list goes on, and I only know a small portion of what weighs them down.
To put it lightly, it's been a doozy of a year. The above quote explains why. The burdens of home cannot be separated from these little people and their ability to learn, think, focus, socialize, problem solve, follow directions, etc. Those backpacks and pockets are so bulging that there's nowhere else for the stuff to go but out. And out it does come on a daily basis, tumbling out around them at recess, in my room, at lunchtime, during PE. There's no place in the school exempt from the affects.
I can only control what I can control, and I have zero control over life at home. I wish I had all the answers. I know that trust and relationship make a huge difference for these kids. Can I be completely honest though and say that hasn't been necessarily easy to establish? Some little lives are so laden down, that the moment they walk into the room, you can tell they're not going to give you much of a chance. At times, okay so most of the time, I don't feel qualified to lighten their loads and teach them at the same time. It feels like a monumental task that's far beyond my capabilities. What I'd really like to do is launch those backpacks into the creek behind the school, forever to leave these children, my classroom, and me alone, so we can simply and completely enjoy learning together, for once.